Eighty Men Died Trying to End That Spree

Nieuport 17 front view (painted, minus prop/nose cowl)
Nieuport 17 front view (painted, minus prop/nose cowl)
It seems like the only time we really have is time that’s under pressure from five different directions. We were at the rink Thursday, Friday, twice on Saturday, and yesterday. We’ll be at the rink again tonight, tomorrow night, Friday, and Sunday nights. It’s the nearing-the-end-of-the-regular-season crunch to get all our games in. And then playoffs start. It’s been a good year for our team; they’ve played well, they’re in the top third of the standings, and they get along well as a team. In addition to the games, we have a kid who’s a ref, so when we’re not watching him play, we watch him make calls. It’s an interesting game, when you’re watching the officials instead of the play. Not better; not worse. Different, though. And you really notice the douchebubble parents an awful lot more when it’s your kid they’re jeering at. I’m not…supposed to go to The Captain’s reffing too much…

The point here is that when we weren’t at a rink, we were at the kitchen table (I am loathe to think about what my beautiful oak table is going to look like when we take the newspaper off it; I suspect it will have glue or water or – gods forbid – paint thinner stains on it), trying to put the finishing touches on the Nieuport 17. The Captain has more or less given up on the Sopwith. I hope he completes it on his own when he’s not under so much pressure. I’d finished putting together the individual parts of the aeroplane Thursday or Friday. The Captain helped me glue the tissue paper to the frame.

Nieuport 17 Painted
Nieuport 17 Painted
From there, we sprayed the covered parts with water – this was the coolest part of the whole thing – and as it dried, the tissue paper shrunk and kind of sucked itself on to the stringers. That was wicked. Having learned that Canada has outlawed the distribution of the substance one needs for the next bit (I swear to Christ, it’s called dope. I went to a shop and asked for dope and they told me it’s illegal to distribute it in Canada, and I said, I know, but this isn’t dope-dope; it’s for covering a balsa airplane with tissue paper, and the guy blinked and said, I know, that’s what I was talking about, and I said oh, well, we’re on the same page then.), so I had to jury-rig something. The purpose of covering the tissue paper with dope (snigger) is to seal the pores in the paper and to harden it up a bit. Because tissue paper tears like…well, it tears like tissue paper, really. And it’s delicate like a delicate thing.

So I was dopeless. But I happened to have a can of Games Workshop “Purity Seal”, which is crap for the purpose for which it was invented (sealing your hand-painted miniatures – it leaves a horrid crust on your paint. Seriously, never use it). So I took the smallest section of the aeroplane and sprayed it with the purity seal.* It worked, as my aunt would say, slicker than snot on a doorknob.

The Captain and I assembled the aeroplane. Much Swearing was had when it came time to attach the top wing, because it had warped, but after I left it overnight and came back to it, and weighed the wing down on each side with glass bowl while the gluick dried, it seemed just fine. The Captain painted the aeroplane – and here’s where karma must have caught up to us – he ran out of the alumnium colour with about 2 square inches of the fuselage left to go. And the hobby shop wasn’t open yesterday. So we finished the rest of the painting (I showed him some drybrushing techniques before he went off to the rink), and as the paint dried, we watched copious amounts of Doctor Who.

Nieuport 17 "flying" without a prop
Nieuport 17 “flying” without a prop
I had to hand-letter the insignias, because the decals that came with the model were for a French plane, and I’ve discovered that Cs are VERY DIFFICULT. But I fucking ROCK at 5s. When The Captain went off to bed, I strung the wires between the wings and mounted (poorly) the machine gun on the top wing. I think the ‘motor’ won’t work (the elastic is too long and I’m not sure I can anchor it properly inside the fuselage, but we’ll see. I put some modelling clay in the bottom of the fuselage at the pivot point. This morning, The Captain put the wheels on and put Plastic Billy Bishop in the cockpit. He coloured the instrument panel and glued it in place.

All that’s left is to finish the bit of the fuselage that needs paint, install the motor, and gluick the prop to the engine block. And then the Nieuport 17 will be complete.


*NB – when it says “use in a well-ventilated area” on Games Workshop Purity Seal, they mean, like, a park or an abandoned street, or possibly a missile test site. I shit you not. I took the pieces outside to spray them, but couldn’t leave them in the cold to dry because they’d warp, so I brought them inside. I had both doors and several windows open for several hours. Even still, I had to close The Nipper away in the computer room so that I didn’t intoxicate my child.

  1 comment for “Eighty Men Died Trying to End That Spree

  1. 23 February 2013 at 10:08 am

    Magnificent flying machine!

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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